Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
The Lichtine army had established a camp two cells (six kilometers) away from the cliffs. There were hundreds of barracks within the fenced-in area, and there was a most luxurious tent in the center of it.
Inside, there’s a meeting in the center, the staff and the commanders of the various divisions stood in rows on either side. At the back of the room, Vile, seated on a large chair, is listening to the damage report from the staff members with an angry look on his face.
“…Six commanders, eight hundred and twelve infantry, two hundred and ninety-nine wounded. That’s all.”
After finishing his report, the Chief of Staff returned to the line. Not only were the five hundred soldiers they had turned in to surprise the enemy from behind wiped out, but they also lost a lot of soldiers when the Sixth Princess resisted more than expected.
“Nearly a thousand soldiers died in battle against an enemy of less than a hundred men!?”
Vile threw his wine on the ground, and the glass shattered loudly.
“What should I say to my brother? Tell him we lost a thousand men for nothing and failed to capture the Sixth Princess?”
The Chief of Staff stepped forward again.
“But it’s also because of something unexpected that happened. Your Excellency must have seen it, too. That’s not something you can call a human being by any stretch of the imagination!”
Indeed, it was the man in black who should be feared. Suddenly, he seemed to burst into the battlefield, and in the blink of an eye, he stroked and cut the soldiers to pieces.
“Huh, you want me to tell my brother that one person killed a thousand people? If I do that, my head will fly off!”
Unable to hide his frustration, Vile kicked the chair away. The chair collided with the desk and broke with a loud noise. Still not satisfied with the situation, Vile grabbed onto one of the commanders.
“…He indeed had incredible power. But who was it that allowed him to do whatever he wanted? You guys are the commanders!”
“…After having that much power displayed so glaringly and instilling fear in me, I can only retreat!”
“You’re beyond pathetic! Yet you are soldiers of the Principality of Lichtine!”
He pushed the commander away and then stared at his men’s faces in the tent in turn.
“As soon as the night dawns, we will launch an all-out assault. You are not allowed to retreat. Anyone who has a problem with that will step forward. I will cut their heads off.”
It was supposed to be an easy fight. Normally, it was supposed to be over in a few hours. That’s why―they were not prepared for a night battle, and ended up giving the enemy a break like this.
“None, huh. Well, the council is over. Immediately appoint replacements for the dead commanders. You don’t have any time to sleep. Come up with a good idea before dawn, or I will enslave the useless ones.”
His subordinates clapped their left shoulder with their right hand, got down on one knee, and opened their mouths.
“As you wish.”
Shortly after that, a messenger came rolling into the tent with a different expression.
“Enemy attack! The number is unknown! And now we’re under attack!”
Everyone looked dumbfounded. It’s understandable; the enemy is close to being wiped out, there’s no way they’re going to attack them. Doubting his own ears, Vile asked back.
“…What did you say?”
“I repeat! We’re under attack! The number is unknown! And now we’re under attack!”
“Nonsense… The enemy was already at death’s door.”
Vile hurriedly left his tent. The staff officers and the commanders of the various units came rushing out next. There was a shout, a scream, a roar of horseshoes, and the soldiers who had been resting were in a panic.
“What does this mean! Are you telling me that the enemy’s reinforcements have arrived!”
The remaining enemy was supposed to be a unit of mainly infantry and archers. There is no cavalry, and if there were, it could be reinforcements. But that’s impossible.
“No way… my brother lost?”
Then it occurred, he thought.
“No, that’s not it.”
Vile was quick to deny it. Their main force of twelve thousand should be attacking the Berg Fortress. Unless they are defeated, the enemy will not receive any reinforcements.
“I heard that the enemy is the War Maiden, but…”
It was only two days ago that he organized a detachment of troops to capture the Sixth Princess and arrived here. No matter how much someone is praised as the “War Maiden”, she will not be able to trounce twelve thousand men. But if they are not reinforcements, there is no way to judge the situation.
Besides the confused Vile, the staff officer was flying instructions to each commander.
“Return to the command of your respective units! Gather here when things settle down.”
A commander tried to run away, but he fell to the ground. Beyond the corpse, a boy approached with a worn-out spear in hand.
“Thank goodness… I was wondering what I would have done if the military council hadn’t been held.”
Seeing the boy breathe a sigh of relief.
One of the staff members screamed and fell on his butt. Throwing away the old spear, the boy took the sword from the dead commander.
“Yeah. It’s well maintained. It shows that he’s a man with a good work ethic.”
When the boy――quickly swung his sword to the side, the head of the staff member who sat down fell off. The appearance of the boy in black who had been rampaging around the battlefield. The instilled fear will not be easily removed. And it made the faces of the staff and commanders of the various units turn grim and step back.
“I can’t let you go. If we let you go, some people will be unhappy.”
The boy changes his sword to a horizontal position and throws it. With a thud―it stabbed into the brow of a tearful staff member. A splatter of blood rises up, and seeing this, the others scream and try to escape.
“I told you already. I won’t let you go.”
However, the boy would not be missed. They became flesh and blood as they uttered a prayer for salvation.
All that remained was Vile, and he hurriedly fled into the tent. And the boy picked up a sword from the inner warp and came after him.
“Kuku, I don’t know who you are, but you’re as good as a baby in front of this sword.”
Vile’s smile deepened as he held the jewel-studded sword in his hand.
“A… spirit weapon?”
The boy shrugged his shoulders and swung his sword down on the wreckage of a nearby chair. Swinging down, again and again, the sword spilled over the edge of the inner warp.
“…What are you doing?”
Vile raised his eyebrows in disbelief at the boy who started acting out of the blue. The boy turned around, and in his hand was an object to be discarded that could not retain its appearance as a sword.
“You know what? I learned from my brother-in-law that people could be cruel because they’re rational, and I was strangely convinced.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I’m going to ask you some questions, and I want you to answer them.”
“I-I said, what the hell are you talking about?”
Vile shouted out, feeling numb to the boy’s inability to engage in conversation.
“I’d like to start with your fingers, but since I don’t have much time, let’s start with your arms.”
The boy disappears from view. When the figure is spotted again, there is an abyss looking into Vile. Next, he looked at his arm in intense pain. A jagged blade, like a saw, was digging into his upper arm.
“Question. Did you kill Dios-san?”
He was kicked in the face, and his huge body was blown off.
“Guuuhhh, s-someone…――help me!”
Vile let go of his spirit weapon and put his hands on his arms, writhing in intense pain.
“Next, should we go with the ankle? Please, I hope you answer me before you die.”
Vile looked up, and there was nothingness. No emotion came to mind. There was an inhuman being, something that made him wonder if it was even a person. He remembered that the frontline soldiers had gone insane and were repeating the same words over and over again.
What they were muttering in unison was―”endless despair”.
“P-please stop… I will surrender… It’s our defeat.”
Brokenhearted, Vile rubbed his head against the ground.
“The regulations for prisoners of war under our bilateral agreements. Excessive abuse and killing of those who have surrendered――.”
Vile’s words of explanation were interrupted midway by the dark-haired boy.
“I don’t know. I’m not an Imperial soldier, you know. It’s none of my business.”
“More importantly, you haven’t answered my question. I don’t have time. Will you talk if I knock your foot off?”
The boy comes up to him, talking nonchalantly.
Sinking his blade into Vile’s leg, the boy let out an icy breath.
“――Did you kill Dios-san?”
As Hiro stepped outside of the tent, the sky in the east was beginning to lighten faintly. Under normal circumstances, he would have to strain his eyes to watch his step. But now, there was a place in a part of the wilderness that gave off an overwhelming light source that didn’t need to be.
It was the camp of the Principality of Lichtine’s army.
Now it was not only disembodied and cruelly destroyed, but it had been swept away by the flames. Many soldiers were burning to a crisp, and a peculiar odor clung to the nose, polluting the air. A riderless horse could be seen galloping around the area, and in the center of the hellish scene, a black-haired boy―Hiro―was staring at the wrecked tent.
Then a horse runs up and comes to an abrupt stop beside Hiro. The girl who was straddling it jumped down, making her red hair dance.
The girl who jumps at him with a somewhat impatient face―Liz, examines Hiro’s body while touching him here and there.
“Are you injured? Do you feel any pain anywhere?”
When she began to touch his face, Hiro smiled bitterly as his cheeks turned red.
“I’m fine. As you can see, there is nothing to worry about.”
He raised his arms and twisted his body from side to side on the spot to prove that he was okay. Liz’s eyes softened, and she took a breath of relief.
“Thank goodness―but why did you go alone!”
A hand flies through the air with blinding speed.
She grabbed both of his cheeks with one hand.
“Hiyaa, it can’t be helped.”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about! I demand an apology!”
The force sent from her slender fingers caused her jaw to start creaking. In the first place, there was no way to explain this, nor could he properly apologize for it.
“From now on, you must tell me when you will charge into the enemy’s camp. I want to fight with you, too.”
Looking at Hiro, who obediently nodded repeatedly, Liz finally let go of her hand. While Hiro stroked his aching cheeks, Liz said, “Ah,” as if she had an idea.
“Come to think of it… Hiro, you can handle a sword, huh?”
The “Heavenly Emperor” was strapped to Hiro’s belt. Liz crouched down and gave it a price-taking look.
“Huwaa~… Looking at it closely, it’s a beautiful sword. My “Flame Emperor” is also beautiful, but this one is really beautiful, right?”
Liz pulled out her “Flame Emperor” and began to compare them as if she were appraising them. A greasy sweat was on Hiro’s forehead. He didn’t know how to explain it.
No――there’s no way he can explain it, it’s now a lost sword or something great, and it’s a hero’s sword from a thousand years ago. There’s no way he can say.
Eeee, how can I――and after shouting in his mind, Hiro decided to lie.
“After I left Liz, I found something on the side of the road.”
“Eh…. you found this?”
“Y-yeah. It was kind of beautiful, so I picked it up.”
“Heee, I can’t believe you found this thing in the middle of nowhere, right near the small country of Baum.”
“Y-yeah, that’s what I think, too!”
Anyone would know it was a lie, but she seemed to believe him; he was not sure if she was really a pure person or a natural airhead.
Moreover, she said, “I feel the power of a strong spirit… There is something special here… N-no, maybe it’s because of the Spirit King’s strong influence. Therefore――” she began to worry seriously.
As for Hiro, the fact that Liz’s breasts are in full view through the gaps in her armor is becoming a problem. It may be that this is what they say about “One difficulty after another”.
Since she is looking at the “Heavenly Emperor” while shaking her body, her breasts, however slim they may be, have changed shape enough to show their flexibility. The sweat on her soft white skin aroused his lust, and her figure made him want to let out his uncontrollable desire.
Thinking this was no good any longer, he removed Liz from his sight and looked at the large shadow behind him.
“K-kid… that must be a great view!”
A muscular man, like a bear on a horse, covered his vision. He felt the heat cool down all at once. In his hand was a sword that glittered and shone. The reason why it is trembling is probably that he is desperately trying to suppress the desire to kill.
“What was wrong? You’re an insolent man who has the princess on your knees and stretched out under your nose!”
“I didn’t make her kneel!”
“Shut up, you’ve been coveting your virtue since the beginning of our journey, haven’t you?”
“You’re jumping the story! Wait! Please listen to me!”
So Liz stood up and turned back to Tris.
“I know you two are getting along, so calm down. Anyway, what’s going on with the war situation?”
“Mumu… g-getting along? Your Highness, that’s not――.”
“Tell me about the situation. Are we in enemy territory?”
“Gunuh! T-thanks to that little boy, as you can see, there’s no doubt that we’re winning.”
Hiro first instructed them to collect the horses that they had abandoned along the way. As expected, it was impossible to collect all of them, so they gathered about sixty horses, divided them into three groups, and launched an assault from three directions. Only a few of the lead men were on their horses.
The rest had no masters on horseback, so they would sometimes run away in the middle of the charge. If it were daylight, they would be subjected to laughter and ridicule, but it would be no laughing matter if it were dark. The roar of horseshoes echoing in the silent wilderness, surrounded by darkness, gives the illusion of many people.
The enemy soldiers were exhausted from the daytime battle. It was a surprise attack when they were unable to make a calm decision. There would be few soldiers who would be brave enough to face the skull-crushing horseshoes.
“And there are only a few enemies who escaped by killing each other.”
Hiro had a few infantrymen dress up as enemy soldiers and then took advantage of the confusion to sneak into the enemy lines and order them to attack. The miscellaneous soldiers were left in a panic as their commander was absent due to a military council.
None of them wanted to die; they wanted to survive at all costs. That’s why the enemy forces, in a state of disbelief, would kill each other. The rest of the time, Hiro attacked the main tent so that each commander couldn’t stop the chaos.
“I see… thanks for your efforts. Keep vigilant. There is a possibility that enemy soldiers may be lurking around. Once you’ve searched the area, gather everyone here.”
Tris put his hand to his chest and ran through the camp with his horse. Liz, who had witnessed this, turned to Hiro.
“How was it, Hiro?”
Hiro silently pointed a thumb at the tent that had been turned to ashes.
The silence between them fell for a few seconds before Liz spoke up with a troubled look on her face.
“I don’t know. There’s a part of me that’s happy that my enemy is dead, and a part of me that feels empty. I don’t know what to do with these feelings…”
“Someday… you’ll come to understand.”
Just like me, Hiro muttered in his heart.
She’s too pure, for better or worse. That sometimes produces cruel results. If Liz had been there, she would have accepted his surrender. Because of the heavy bonds of being the sixth princess, she would have stifled her own feelings.
That was Hiro’s thoughts, and he didn’t ask her about her feelings. People may call this arrogance, thinking and judging things in a way that suits them. But he does not think it was a mistake to attack the main actor based on his own ideas.
(You must bury the seeds of your misfortune as soon as possible.)
In the midst of the dazzling sunshine pouring down from the eastern sky―a loud pang sound cut through the sad air. Hiro rolled his eyes and looked at the source of the sound―it was the girl with her hands on her cheeks.
“Unh! Enough worrying about it!”
Liz, who had closed her eyelids and endured the pain, said with a refreshed look on her face.
“Hiro, we’re going to meet my uncle!”
A single red flower is blooming in the wilderness. It is more precious and beautiful than any jewel.
(I shouldn’t have worried about her… She was his descendant, after all.)
Hiro smiled bitterly, but
“First of all, I’ll give you my gratitude!”
She jumped at the confused Hiro.
“Hiro, you made it possible for me to live. I’ll never forget this debt of gratitude!”
A soft touch on his cheek, and when he realized what had touched him, her body moved away.
“Please keep up the good work from now on!”
“Ha… Yeah, leave it to me.”
――As one would think, you do look good with a smile.